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Re: [xmca] Vygotsky, Saussure, and Wolves with different dreams

You mean Shererzad was NOT trying to keep from having her head cut off? :-))
(I know, not only)

When I start off for the farmer's market with apple written on a piece of
paper, or apples
as one of the things i am looking for, the status of apples as true/abstract
concept is not
clear to me, despite the efforts to straighten me out.

I appreciate the help and will keep on reading and thinking about it.

On Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 7:43 PM, David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com>wrote:

> Of course, Vygotsky completely repudiates the idea that thinking is simply
> speech minus sound, or that thought is a speech reflex which is inhibited
> before it is manifest.
> First of all, he distinguishes quite clearly (in Chapter Seven) between
> thinking on the one hand and inner speech on the other.
> But he also denies that inner speech is speech minus sound or some kind of
> inhibited reflex. Here's what he says in section THREE of Chapter Seven:
> "According to Watson, (inner speech) is the same as external speech, but
> not brought to an end. Bekhterev defined it as a verbal reflex whose motor
> portion is not detected, Sechenov as a reflex interrupted after two-thirds
> of its journey. In this understanding inner speech may consist of a
> subordinate moment in the scientific concept of internal speech, but it,
> like the first, not only does not exhaust the whole of this concept, but
> does not coincide with it at all. Silently saying words does not yet in any
> way mean the internal processes of inner speech. Recently, Schilling
> suggested some terminology to distinguish between inner speech and internal
> speaking, the latter term denoting the contents of that which has been
> investigated under the name of inner speech by the authors just referred to.
> From this notion of inner speech differs quantitatively in that it is
> referring only to the active rather than passive processes of speech
> activity, and
>  qualitatively in that it is referring to the initial motor activity of
> speech function. Interior talk from this point of view is a partial function
> of internal speech, the initial verbal motor act, impulses which are not at
> all expressed in articulatory movements or which occur in unclear and
> expressed silent movements, but that accompany, support or hinder thinking
> functions."
> One of the big differences between thinking on the one hand and inner
> speech on the other is precisely the arrow of time; Vygotsky points out that
> a thought does not begin at one end and go on linearly until we reach the
> other (although we may express it that way). Thoughts are much closer to the
> kind of volitional affective impulses or the referential meanings that Greg
> is talking about: they appear to happen all over at once.
> Paula, in a characteristically funny and warm offline message, makes the
> point that concepts really have TWO prerequisites: on the one hand,
> abstraction and generalization (which really seem to me to be two aspects of
> the same mental process, the isolation of a single feature and then
> spreading it to other objects), and on the other system and hierarchy. This
> seems an absolutely key insight.
> One of the things that makes this remarkable paper so difficult to
> understand (but actually not NEARLY as difficult to understand as the
> chapter of Thinking and Speech it is based on) is the use of expressions
> like "functional equivalence in STRUCTURE" and "pseudoconceptual reasoning
> in a SYNCRETIC solution", where we have two apparently incompatible forms of
> thinking mixed in a kind of intellectual salad dressing.
> It's not at all, as the fashionable parlance has it, a "hybrid", which
> would imply a complete fusion which allows fertile progeny. It's more of an
> emulsion, where two fundamentally different processes are temporarily and
> functionally fused.
> I think the point is that this is how development takes place. For example,
> within the indicative gesture, there is the POSSIBILITY of naming things:
> "This is an apple". And within the nominative act, there is the POSSIBILITY
> of signifying "This is an abstract, idealized, concept of an apple, not a
> real apple that ever has or could exist". Just as the child's quasi-rote
> play contains the potential of role play, and the role play contains the
> potential of rule based games, Paula and Carol's emulsions point out that
> there is the POSSIBILITY of pseudoconceptual reasoning in the syncretic
> solution.
> To return to Mike's example. When you set off for the farmer's market, you
> have in your mind a concept--an idealized, abstract model of the apples you
> want to buy. It may even be written down as graphemes on a shopping list.
> When you arrive at the farmer's market, you are confronted by actual
> objects: you have ascended to the concrete, to use Davydov's phrase.
> We often think of Davydov as advocating the direct instruction of concepts
> from the getgo. Of course, that's not at all what he has in mind: as
> Schmittau pointed out, he only wants us to begin in a somewhat different
> place (e.g. measuring instead of counting) because it will make it somewhat
> easier to arrive at where we want to go.
> Some examples: If we want to teach differentiation, it's better to start
> with the idea of limits than with the idea of measuring the slope of a
> curve, because only the former will really help you divide by zero. If you
> want to teach integration, you are better off defining a circle as a polygon
> with an infinite number of infinitely small sides than as a line where every
> point is equidistant from some point not on a line.
> To give some nonmathematical examples, in moral education it's better to
> start with identity than with the self, with social roles rather than with
> self-evaluation. It's not just that this starting point is closer to where
> the child is. It's that it gets us closer to where we want to go.
> Now, on one level, Mike's right: the conversations we have on xmca are
> perfectly ocmplexive, and what I've just written is the kind of horrible
> segue that DJs do on the radio ("and now for something completely
> different--Davydov!")
> But to call this a preconceptual or pseudoconceptual post is to ignore what
> it is made of and to only look at its structure. That is just as big a
> mistake as to read the Arabian Nights as the story of one woman trying
> to keep from having her head cut off.
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> --- On Sun, 8/9/09, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
> From: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Vygotsky, Saussure, and Wolves with different dreams
> To:
> Cc: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> Date: Sunday, August 9, 2009, 5:16 PM
> The idea of the uncompleted action as the foundation of thinking is what
> underlies this developmental theory isn't it, Mike?
> I am reminded of LSV's argument in his first recorded 1924 speech:
> "According to reflexology, thought is a speech reflex which is inhibited
> before it is manifest, and asks 'why it is allowed to study complete speech
> reflexes ... and why it is forbidden to take account of these same reflexes
> when they are inhibited?'"
> And the idea is found in Dewey and Mead, isn't it, again setting out from
> the inhibited gesture, and we have today things like sports people
> practicing in their head before doing a complex action, and neuroscientists
> verifying that 90% of the brain action associated with the action is present
> in thinking it.
> So the idea that reaching for some thing and not completing it, is a
> developmental "justification" of the same pragmatic interpretation of
> thinking. (most metaphysical theories have a "just so" story to explain
> them) I am inclined to think the general idea came before the observation of
> children?
> The challenging Google book link you gave, Mike, asks us to presume an
> in-built knowledge that adults will understand pointing, an ability to
> connect all the dots and an inclination to do this wonderful indirect or
> mediated action in relation to the moving-black-thing (dog) and the
> big-face-thing (father) and the hand. I am open to the "truncated gesture"
> being an invention or mistake of some kind, but I would still like some
> explanation of where this complex series of actions comes from, some genesis
> for it. Even if this idea is that it is in the genes, how did it get into
> the genes?
> Can someone with an infant handy tell us if pre-pointing infants reach for
> and try to grasp things? I don't know. :(
> Andy
> Mike Cole wrote:
> > I have raised this issue before and somone (Anna Stetsenko) said that
> current evidence contradicted me, but i could not find the contradiction in
> the sources provided, so since it is so central an argument, it may well be
> worth repeating.
> >
> > The claim is this:
> >
> > the development of a gesture [into a word (mc)] as (1) reaching for an
> object, (2) a reaction arises, but not on the part of the object, but
> another person, who completes the grasping for the child, and in being
> directed towards another person, the gesture becomes contracted, and (3)
> becomes a gesture for oneself. And I think this is as good as any a
> representation of the Hegel passage I have given the link to.
> >
> > One relevant article is at the following accessible url.
> http://mindblog.dericbownds.net/2007/06/human-infant-pointing-precursor-to.html
> >
> > The work of Butterworth on infant pointing, which implicates an important
> > maturational ("natural line of development") component also needs to be
> considered. Easy access to this can be found via google
> > using
> >
> >       The child in the world: embodiment, time, and language in early
> >       ... - Google Books Result
> >       <
> http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=4&url=http%3A%2F%2Fbooks.google.com%2Fbooks%3Fid%3DiZLu3UZxV-cC%26pg%3DPA170%26lpg%3DPA170%26dq%3Dinfant%2Bpointing%2Bbutterworth%26source%3Dbl%26ots%3DdNw6epggkB%26sig%3D7rQYEZwltjSF9IAB839enjx3Y8w%26hl%3Den%26ei%3DxwV_SvWLIJKKMe_ogPgC%26sa%3DX%26oi%3Dbook_result%26ct%3Dresult%26resnum%3D4&ei=xwV_SvWLIJKKMe_ogPgC&usg=AFQjCNFQMb2V9y3zehUm62ppY1RZg6zW6g&sig2=tS1cMjgVt_poz1Jq52wZmw
> >
> >
> > These results do not negate the role of adult interpretation in the
> development of early words, or gestures, but they do complicate the picture
> I think. Easy and repeated repitetation of LSV on this point is not going to
> be taken serious without us taking seriously contemporary evidence and
> theoretical claims.
> >
> > mike
> >
> > On Thu, Aug 6, 2009 at 5:23 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:
> ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
> >
> >     Mmm, well I had a read of the relevant passage in Hegel again last
> >     night, Steve, and again modified my opinion of its meaning. Here is
> >     a link to the point which is the nearest Hegel comes to this
> relation:
> >
> >     http://marx.org/reference/archive/hegel/works/sp/ssconsci.htm#SS334
> >
> >     I find this prettty opaque quite honestly, but I think if you read
> >     it on the assumption that Hegel is talking about the differentiating
> >     out of (c) individual consciousness (which is what Hegel meant by
> >     "psychology") from (a) animalistic action/reaction and (b) the
> >     collective consciousness of a cultural group, you might just get
> >     some sense out of it.
> >
> >     LSV put it this way:
> >
> >     "All cultural development of the child passes through three basic
> >     stages that can be described in the following way using Hegel’s
> >     analysis." (LSV CW v. 4 p. 104) My paraphrase of the rest of the
> >     paragraph: the development of a gesture as (1) reaching for an
> >     object, (2) a reaction arises, but not on the part of the object,
> >     but another person, who completes the grasping for the child, and in
> >     being directed towards another person, the gesture becomes
> >     contracted, and (3) becomes a gesture for oneself. And I think this
> >     is as good as any a representation of the Hegel passage I have given
> >     the link to.
> >
> >     -----------
> >
> >     Vygotsky may have learnt about this passage secondhand from Lewin.
> >     But everyone knew about the Hegelian phrases "thing-in-itself",
> >     "thing-for-us" and "thing-for-itself", since these were part of the
> >     popular discourse around Hegel in Marxist circles. So I presume
> >     "concept-in-itself," the "concept-for-others" and the
> >     "concept-for-myself" is a kind of play on these concepts. But
> >     "concept-for-myself" is just not something you'd find in Hegel. The
> >     concept is always objective for Hegel.
> >
> >     -----------
> >
> >     Now what Vygotsky meant by it:
> >
> >     "Concept-in-itself" I take to be the unconscious use of words by a
> >     small child as an indivisible part of an action, a "handle" for a
> >     thing. This is close to the Hegelian idea, because the child is not
> >     yet conscious of having a concept or thing-name at all; it is
> >     indissolubly connected to the object itself.
> >
> >     "Concept-for-others" I take to mean the use of a word for
> >     communicative action, e.g. asking an adult for assistance, and it is
> >     directed at the adult.
> >
> >     "Concept-for-myself" is the use of language by the child to control
> >     its own actions, speech growing in, as they say, towards silent
> >     speech. I don't know if I entirely concur with Kozulin in saying
> >     this, but the idea you quote from Kozulin is certainly closely
> >     connnected, because the use of words to achieve intelligent
> >     *control* of one's own actions is surely closely connected with
> >     awareness of one's own consciousness (and behaviour). And I think
> >     you can link LSV and Hegel with (a) and (b) but I can't see it with
> (c).
> >
> >     That's where I'm at with all this Steve.
> >
> >     Andy
> >
> >
> >
> >     Steve Gabosch wrote:
> >
> >         Thanks, Andy.  I think I am being a little dense here, because
> >         now I am uncertain of both what Vygotsky meant, and what Hegel
> >         meant as well!  LOL
> >
> >         I get the **sense** of these distinctions, of course, but I
> >         don't think they are yet registering for me as clear
> >         **concepts**.  I might even be able to more or less correctly
> >         answer a question or two about what Vygotsky said on a school
> >         quiz, but I can tell I would only be doing so on the basis of
> >         pseudoconceptual reasoning, because I can memorize the genetic
> >         order that Vygotsky says that the concept-in-itself, the
> >         concept-for-others and the concept-for-myself appear in the
> >         child - but not because I really understand **why** they appear
> >         in that order, or because I understand just **what** these kinds
> >         of concepts actually are.  I couldn't, offhand, give you clear
> >         examples of these three kinds of concepts.  Your quote from
> >         Hegel is helpful, but I have not fully conceptualized Hegel's
> >         treatment of these ideas, either.  I'm not so sure how I'd get
> >         very far on a school quiz on that!  LOL
> >
> >         So let me refine my questions regarding Vygotsky's points.
> >          First, what did Vygotsky mean by the terms "concept-in-itself,"
> >         "concept-for-others" and "concept-for-myself"?  Second, what are
> >         some examples of these kinds of concepts?  Third, why does he
> >         claim that the first two, as a rule, precede the latter in a
> >         child's intellectual development?
> >
> >         For further thought, here are some relevant quotes from the
> >         paper, from Vygotsky, and from Kozulin.
> >
> >         Here is what Paula and Carol said (pg 236 in Wolves):
> >
> >         "It is in this respect that Vygotsky notes that the genetic
> >         preconditions of the “concept-for-myself” are already present in
> >         the pseudoconcept in the form of the “concept-in-itself” and the
> >         “concept-for-others”, because these occur earlier in the child
> >         than the “concept-for-myself”: he further asserts that this
> >         sequence is not restricted to conceptual development because it
> >         occurs as a “rule rather than the exception in the intellectual
> >         development of the child” (p. 124)."
> >
> >         Here is the passage by Vygotsky from Alex Kozulin's translation
> >         of Thought and Language they refer to (pg 124):
> >
> >         "The concept-in-itself and the concept-for-others are developed
> >         in the child earlier than the concept-for-myself.  The
> >         concept-in-itself and the concept-for-others, which are already
> >         present in the pseudoconcept, are the basic genetic precondition
> >         for the development of real concepts.  This peculiar genetic
> >         situation is not limited to the attainment of concepts; it is
> >         the rule rather the exception in the intellectual development of
> >         the child." (7)
> >
> >         In Footnote (7) to the above passage in Thought and Language (on
> >         page 268),  Kozulin comments:
> >
> >         "7. Vygotsky's discussion of the phenomenon of pseudoconcepts
> >         has far-reaching philosophical implications.  First of all, if
> >         the conscious awareness of one's own intellectual operations
> >         ("concept-for-me") is only a secondary achievement, which
> >         follows the practical use of these operations, then the
> >         individual cannot be considered a self-conscious center of
> >         activity.  [Note from Steve:  I don't grasp what Alex just
> >         said.]  The individual appears rather as a "construction" built
> >         at the crossroads of the inner and outer realities.  Second, the
> >         phenomenon of functional equivalence between real and
> >         pseudoconcepts warns us against taking the functional appearance
> >         of communication for its ultimate content.  The usage of "one
> >         and the same" words and subsequent "understanding" may be
> >         illusory.  Such illusion of understanding, based on the
> >         confusion between functional and essential characteristics,
> >         constantly emerges in child-adult communication, in the dialogue
> >         between different social groups, and in contacts between
> >         different cultures.  For further discussion of this point, see
> >         Alex Kozulin, "Psychology and Philosophical Anthropology: The
> >         Problem of Their Interaction," *The Philosophical Forum*, 1984,
> >         15(4):443-458."
> >
> >         <end>
> >
> >
> >
> >         On Aug 4, 2009, at 7:58 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:
> >
> >             Steve Gabosch wrote:
> >
> >                 What did LSV mean by a "concept-for-myself," (a phrase,
> >                 I understand, is derived from Hegel)?
> >
> >
> >             Hegel would never have used quite the phrase,
> >             "concept-for-myself", but the way Vygotsky is using the
> >             idea: first concept in-itself, then for-others, and only
> >             last for-myself - i.e., self-consciousness, is quite
> >             consistent with Hegel's idea. It's really a play on Hegel.
> >
> >             For example from Hegel's Introduction to the History of
> >             Philosophy:
> >
> >             "But consciousness really implies that for myself, I am
> >             object to myself. In forming this absolute division between
> >             what is mine and myself, Mind constitutes its existence and
> >             establishes itself as external to itself. It postulates
> >             itself in the externality."
> >
> >             Andy
> >             _______________________________________________
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> >             xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> >             http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> >
> >
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> >
> >
> >     --
>    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >     Andy Blunden (Erythrós Press and Media)
> http://www.erythrospress.com/
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> >
> >
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